August 02, 2012
|(Photo by Judy Watson Tracy)|
On Thursday, August 2, President Barack Obama became the
third sitting U.S. president to visit Rollins. Coordinated by Organizing for America,
the free and open to the public grassroots event held in the Harold & Ted
Alfond Sports Center featured a 25 minute speech by the 44th and
current president of the United States.
Though the public appearance was not an official Rollins event or an endorsement by the College, the president’s visit reignited a passion for civic engagement, discourse, and activism throughout the community.
“Just to see so many people out, engaged, and excited is setting the tone for an amazing election season to come,” said Sarah Elbadri ’13MPCU, graduate assistant in the Office of Community Engagement.
Though the majority of the student body was away for the summer, the president’s visit brought to Rollins an ethnically, economically, and politically diverse crowd of 2400 citizens from across Central Florida. Elbadri, along with other volunteers with the Rollins Democracy Project and Organizing for America, handed out water and led a voter registration drive amongst those waiting in line for admittance to the anticipated event.
With so much attention focused on Rollins, the College shut down at 3 p.m. and parking on campus was closed as a security precaution and effort to help ease post-event traffic congestion. Yet, the honor of having the president on campus outweighed any minor inconvenience.
“Rollins is very fortunate to have been chosen as the location for the leader of the free world to share his vision for the country,” said Heidi Limongi ’03, administrative and operations assistant of residential life. “There are not many times in life you have the opportunity to hear what your president has to say in person.”
"Even though I'm not a fan of the president, it was exciting to have Rollins receive this kind of recognition," said Adam Schwartz '12MBA.
For Rollins, it’s been 63 years since the College was visited by a sitting president. In 1949, President Truman came to Rollins at the request of the College’s eighth president, Hamilton Holt, and was bestowed with an honorary degree. Before Truman, President Franklin Roosevelt visited and received an honorary degree from Holt in 1936.
Addressing Central Florida voters, who will play a key role in the outcome of the 2012 election, the president shared his vision of how to grow the economy, create middle-class jobs and pay down the debt.
By Justin Braun
Office of Marketing & Communications
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